The pace of technological change has brought about unprecedented levels of reinvention the world over. We’ve seen fundamental changes in the workforce, the workplace, the customer relationship and in the use of technologies within companies. At the same time, a resurgence in the populist state, rising income equality, workforce and demographic fluxes and a shift in economic power from West to East are just some of the big hitting trends we’ve witnessed over the past decade.
These are pretty stormy conditions for businesses to be operating in today. How do transformative organizations battle all these elements? Simply, it starts with people.
Transformative organizations keep their fingers on the pulse of employee sentiment
Building trust by (continually) listening to your people is crucial. And, it needs to be more than just lip-service. Effective listening is a change agent: forcing you to react, morph or upend your strategy depending on what you hear. Organizations and their people are, after all, living organisms, not machines. By recognizing the full potential of your people and understanding how their collective intelligence permeates the organization, you can liberate organizational energy. It allows you to adapt and innovate in response to ups and downs. In other words, transformation is natural in a healthy organization.
Your company won’t become transformative when the people who power it aren’t engaged
Emerging technologies have gained a foothold in the workplace. Traditional processes need to be flipped on their heads and new processes designed so AI, robots and people can work in harmony. Naturally this impacts how you engage, motivate and develop your workforce. You need to have looser connections, but many more of them, so you can innovate and create transformative processes with your workforce and customers. Establishing a culture of feedback as well as a mechanism for encouraging and capturing valuable insights, needs to be front and center of mind.
Transformative organizations are all about the power of the team
The composition of the traditional workforce is changing dramatically. Few organizations rely solely on salaried employees. In the future, they’ll increasingly tap into an ecosystem of contract, freelance and gigging workforce. To say this will have a direct bearing on the dynamic of the team is an understatement to say the least. The competitive business landscape and forces of digital disruption are driving organizations to be more team-oriented, networked and agile. While these approaches are starting to take hold at a functional level, the C-Suite needs to embrace this new reality and ensure silos and hierarchies are broken down, paving the way for a more networked and team-based organization.
Transformative organizations take a holistic view of their ecosystem
Corporate scandals still feature in the headlines with no shortage of big-name companies finding themselves embroiled in misconduct. Transformative organizations are ready to respond to any crisis—like getting hacked, complying with a soon-to-be-enacted regulation or recalling a product— without hesitation. And, in fact, they factor insight into their governance, risk and compliance initiatives to safeguard against these things happening in the first place.
To successfully battle the elements, businesses need to transform. They need to react faster to external trends, viewpoints and voices by nurturing positive relationships, not just with customers and employees, but with communities, regulators, environmental organizations and other stakeholders. Harnessing the power of these relationships presents a significant challenge for companies since they must listen closely to all stakeholders, implement corrective actions and act transparently. To achieve this, they must break down traditional silos by promoting active listening, fostering collaboration and dialogue in order to build trust.
What does being transformative mean to you? To explore how transformative organizations successfully turn headwind into tailwind, find a little time to read our new Powering Transformative Organizations whitepaper. And, if you want more, we’d relish the opportunity to discuss the power of feedback in driving change and transformation.
- By Frank Møllerop